Sen. Cruz: Abolishing ICE Puts All of Us at Peril
Urges Democratic colleagues to support resolution denouncing radical calls for the dissolution of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today spoke on the Senate floor in support of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), urging his Democratic colleagues to support the resolution he and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced last week denouncing the radical calls for the dissolution of ICE.
“Rising in support of law enforcement used to be a bipartisan issue,” Sen. Cruz said. “It used to be an issue that brought us together, that unified us. Sadly, as we have seen in the preceding minutes, that is no longer the case. I rise today to urge my Democratic colleagues to say ‘no’ to the reckless and radical voices within their party that are pulling their party so far out of the mainstream, so far out of touch with the American people, that it is barely recognizable.”
Sen. Cruz’s full remarks may be viewed here and below:
“Mr. President, I rise in support of the brave men and women of our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. These are law enforcement officers who risk their lives everyday to keep this country safe.
“Rising in support of law enforcement used to be a bipartisan issue. It used to be an issue that brought us together, that unified us. Sadly, as we have seen in the preceding minutes that is no longer the case.
“I rise today to urge my Democratic colleagues to say ‘no’ to the reckless and radical voices within their party that are pulling their party so far out of the mainstream, so far out of touch with the American people, that is barely recognizable.
“For a long time when Democrats were debating immigration issues they used to say, ‘Of course we support enforcing the laws,’ almost as an obligatory throw away.
“Instead we are here today debating abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The exact antithesis of where most congressional Democrats claimed they were.
“All of this started because a few weeks ago, a longtime Democratic incumbent member of the House found himself beaten in a primary in New York state by an avowed Socialist, and as a result, many of my colleagues in the Democratic side of the aisle are suddenly terrified of their left flank.
“Because her campaign focused on abolishing ICE, abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, more and more Democrats, incumbent Democrats, have said they too are open to abolishing ICE.
“Mr. President, I call on this body to pull back from the abyss. On immigration there are areas of good-faith disagreement that this body has debated and will continue to debate. I’ve long characterized my views on immigration as being able to be summed up in four words: legal good, illegal bad. I think the vast majority of Texans, the vast majority of Americans agree with that. There are a host of immigration policies that ought to be common sense bipartisan policies.
“Mr. President, you’ve shown great leadership in fighting against sanctuary cities. Fighting against jurisdictions that defy federal immigration law and that release violent criminals without being willing to turn them over to immigration officials. Those criminals, in turn, go on, far too often, to commit yet more violent crimes.
“I am the author in the Senate of Kate’s Law, a common sense proposal that says aggravated felons who repeatedly enter the country illegally should face a mandatory minimum prison sentence. It was named for Kate Steinle, that beautiful young California woman, 28 years old, murdered on a California pier by an illegal immigrant who had been deported over and over and over again, and had been in and out of jail over and over and over again, had multiple felony convictions. Yet, because San Francisco is a sanctuary city, they released him yet again, and he committed murder.
“Kate Steinle would be alive if we could come together on Kate’s Law, if we could come together on ending sanctuary cities. But yet it turns out in today’s hyper-polarized world even that is not extreme enough for the modern Democratic Party. Multiple leaders of their party are advocating abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“Now what does ICE do? ICE men and women, and I’ve met with a great many of them in my home state of Texas. I have met with a great many Border Patrol agents. I’ve joined them on their midnight muster, I’ve gone out on patrol with them as they risk their lives securing the border and ICE risks their lives keeping us safe in the interior.
“Criminal aliens arrested by ICE in fiscal year 2017 were responsible for more than 76,000 dangerous drug offenses, and yet many Democrats are saying abolish their role.
“They were responsible for over 48,000 assault offenses. They were responsible for over 11,000 weapons offenses. They were responsible for over 5,000 sexual assault offenses. They were responsible for over 2,000 kidnapping offenses. And they were responsible for over 1,800 homicide offenses.
“And yet, the approach of the modern Democratic party is not to find a reasonable common sense, common ground. It is, no, instead to say, abolish the agency that has arrested criminals responsible for over 1,800 murders.
“When it comes to drugs, the volume that they are dealing with fighting the narcotics traffickers, ICE, in fiscal year 2017, seized more than 980,000 pounds of narcotics. ICE seized approximately 2,370 pounds of fentanyl, approximately 6,967 pounds of heroin.
“And yet today, too many elected Democrats are afraid that they might too face a Socialist primary – that their far left is so angry, hates President Trump so much, that their position is not, ‘We should enforce the immigration laws.’ Their position is not that they will stand with law enforcement. Their position has become, ‘Abolish the Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency.’ The agency charged with enforcing our immigration laws.
“Mr. President, this is not a reasonable position in a public policy debate upon which reasonable minds might differ – there are many of those in the immigration world. This is not one of them. This is a radical and reckless position.
“And yet, this resolution – by the way, this resolution says not a word about the issue of family separation. We have heard some of the speeches from my Democratic colleagues focused on family separation. I can tell you, every member of this body, Democrat and Republican, agrees that families should not be separated. Indeed, I have introduced legislation to prohibit family separation, to ensure that children stay with their parents. The best place for a kid is with his or her mom or dad. But to do so in a way that also respects the rule of law, that doesn’t return to the failed policy of catch and release, that only encourages more and more illegal immigration. That only puts more and more children – little boys and little girls – in the position of being physically and sexually assaulted by human traffickers.
“Nobody who cares about humanity, no one who cares about compassion, should want to incentivize putting little children in the control of global transnational drug cartels and human traffickers.
“For the past several weeks, I have been negotiating with Democratic members of this body, trying to see if we can reach common ground to unite and say we will not separate families, but at the same time we will respect the rule of law and not return to catch and release in a way that incentivizes illegal immigration.
“We’ll find out if any Democrats are willing to find a common ground. All 100 would join together on ending family release and ending it today. But too many on the Democratic side want to condition ending family release on essentially mandating the release of every illegal alien in custody, those apprehended with children, mandating their release. That’s not a reasonable position. That’s not a position the American people support.
“And critically, this resolution before the Senate says not a word about it. This resolution does not address that question.
“Instead, this resolution says those ICE agents – the ICE agent who, right now, maybe kicking down the door at a meth house, and facing violent drug lords firing weapons at them, risking their lives to keep us safe – that we stand with those law enforcement agents, even if we may disagree on the parameters of legal immigration.
“I’m one who believes we should welcome and embrace legal immigrants. Those who follow the rules and wait in line, like my father in 1957 when he came as an immigrant from Cuba seeking freedom. But those debates we can have. We ought to be coming together in a spirit of bipartisan agreement to stand with law enforcement.
“And so I call upon the responsible members of the Democratic party, and surely there must be some left. Surely in the Democratic party there are some voices that are willing to stand up to the reckless and radical left and say, ‘No, we should not abolish the agency charged with enforcing our immigration laws, charged with protecting us from vicious and violent criminals.’
“The fact that Senate Democrats are today objecting to this resolution shows just how captive they are to the fury that rages against President Trump.
“Everyone in this chamber has at one time or another had something that the president has said or done that we’ve all disagreed with. That’s part of the political process.
“But the rage and fury on the far left is a qualitatively different matter. It is a rage that is demanding for Democrats to go after, to undercut, to attack law enforcement agents who keep us safe. That’s a mistake. It’s a disservice to this institution, it’s a disservice to the legacy of many distinguished Senators, and it’s a disservice to the American people, and the Constitution that we are sworn to protect.
“I would urge this body to pass this commonsense resolution standing with law enforcement, standing for enforcing our borders and stopping violent criminal murderers, kidnappers, rapists that ICE arrests every year.
“Abolishing law enforcement puts all of us at peril. And so, I call upon my Democratic colleagues to reject that radical and reckless position.”